Wednesday, September 10.2014
I only saw three films today, but I also attended a pretty great, intimate party.
First off, I saw OUT OF NATURE – a Norwegian film about a man who decides to spend the weekend hiking in the mountains…away from his job, his wife, his son. In film school, you’re taught to – “Show. Don’t Tell.” This simply means that an audience should be able to figure out what someone is thinking by their strong performance…not by what a narrator or bad dialog is telling us. This film is a rule-breaker – but it’s also the point. As the protagonist is getting ready for his trip and as he’s hiking up the mountain, we get his interior dialog and realize exactly what he’s thinking, what he’s feeling. In earlier scenes, we understand that he has issues connecting with people, and through the voice-overs, we understand that his thoughts are mostly of sex and breaking free from the routine of his current life. Ultimately, I liked this film…but it’s a tough sell. Including everything from a naked jogging scene to masturbation and urination, we truly live with this character over the course of the weekend. It’s an inner journey we take with this character, and though you may not be on the same page with his thoughts, you can certainly empathize with the idea of an interior monologue.
Because this trailer contains graphic content, you’ll have to follow the link to find it on youtube.
MAPS TO THE STARS was next up. It’s the new, darkly satirical film about “Hollywood-types” from David Cronenberg (that said, it could be about any “types” where greed and narcissism play a role in success). Julianne Moore won “Best Actress” this year at Cannes for this film (but I think her performance in STILL ALICE is even stronger). If you’re familiar with Cronenberg’s work, you know you’re in for a non-traditional ride in MAPS TO THE STARS. It’s unsettling, it has awkward moments when laughter seems imminent but also wildly inappropriate, and the stellar cast is committed to the long, crazy ride. Not a favorite…but not bad.
ELEPHANT SONG was the big treat today. I went to see this film because I wanted to see Xavier Dolan in a film that he didn’t direct…and one in which he’s speaking English. Though this film certainly shows its roots of being based on a play, I didn’t mind. The performances (Dolan, Catherine Keener, Bruce Greenwood), the set design, the screenplay – they are all terrific.This is the story of a young man in a mental institution who may know the whereabouts of a doctor who has recently disappeared. Taking place mostly in the doctor’s office, the film has a claustrophobic feel…and Dolan at times channels a young Jack Nicholson. I went on a lark to this screening, and I’m so glad I did. I hope this film find distribution!
At the end of the evening, I was invited by a friend to attend a party being thrown for Ethan Hawke’s new documentary called SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION. It was a small party at the Trump Hotel, and it was lovely. I ran into a couple folks from indiewire as well as got to hang out with a festival programmer I met several years ago. Hawke was in attendance, but I never felt like interrupting him. On my way out, someone whispered, “Did you see who just walked by you?” “I didn’t,” I responded. “That’s Mike Tyson.”
More tomorrow – including one of the most talked about/buzzed about films of the festival season – THE IMITATION GAME.
Thanks for reading,